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Sharks launch 2024 NRL season

The Sharks launched the 2024 NRL season at Cronulla's Wanda Surf Club on Monday night, with the playing squad being officially presented to a room full of corporate partners and staff.

Channel Nine reporter Emma Lawrence was the emcee for the evening, interviewing a selection of players and coach Craig Fitzgibbon on stage.

Fitzgibbon outlined his excitement ahead of round one as his team aims to build on consecutive finals appearances and become a premiership heavyweight.

"I'm open in saying I don't think we've fulfilled our potential. I don't think that we've hit the levels that we can," Fitzgibbon said.

"I believe in the players that we have. If they do find a new level then we'll have the levels to keep going on with it."

Winger Ronaldo Mulitalo's passion was palpable in detailing his commitment to the Sharks, having notched up 89 NRL games in black, white and blue so far.

"I get a bit emotional because I just love this place so much. I love my teammates, I love my mates, I love the old boys," Mulitalo said.

"I'm not just saying this to get another contract, by the way! It just means so much.

"I sit there and reflect all the time... No one wants to leave this place. We all love it. I get to come in and it doesn't feel like a job. I come in and I love being here. 

"I sit there every day and I have so much gratitude in my heart for the community and for my teammates, the coaching staff and everyone here."

Nicho Hynes spoke of his blossoming halves partnership with Braydon Trindall. After finding rhythm at the end of last season, the pair guided the Indigenous All Stars to victory recently with Trindall named Man of the Match.

"For him (Trindall) to stay in the grind to get to where he is now and to deliver that performance in the All Stars game is just a credit to himself and what he's done to get to where he is," Hynes said of his five-eighth.

"I'm just really looking forward to our combination building. We've had a really good pre-season together. It showed in the (All Stars) week, how calm he was, collected and cool. He just went out there and delivered a performance.

"If I can steer us around and let him do the pretty stuff then that's how it's going to be!"

Second-rower Billy Burns, an off-season signing from the Dragons, highlighted a healthy culture which reflects the connection among the players.

"It's quite refreshing to be around a bunch of guys that are hungry every day and have that end goal in sight," Burns said.

At the end of his Q&A session, Fitzgibbon announced wholehearted forwards Dale Finucane and Cameron McInnes as co-captains for 2024.

The duo will help fill the void left by long-time skipper Wade Graham's retirement. But they won't have to shoulder the load alone, with the likes of hooker Blayke Brailey also keen to step up.

"With Wade leaving, you've got to bring a bit more calmness to the side and a bit more leadership because he obviously brought so much to our side for a number of years," said Brailey, who hasn't missed a game since 2020.

"I've had a couple of thankful years where I've played every game. Hopefully, knock on wood, I can do the same for a couple more years to come."

Cronulla kick off their Telstra Premiership campaign against the Warriors in New Zealand on Friday, March 8.

Acknowledgement of Country

Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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